ANATOMY OF A SCENT: TRIMEROUS
Welcome to Anatomy of a Scent, a series where in-house master perfumer Euan McCall dissects much-loved scents from our collection of unique, niche Scottish fragrances to reveal their inner workings. This time, we're taking a look at Trimerous Eau de Parfum, our bestselling orris fragrance with an effervescent kombucha accord and a supple suede drydown.
Carrot Seed, Bergamot, Nectarine, Thyme, Cicely, Pink Pepper, Juniper, Cloudberry, Angelica Root.
Orris Butter, Kombucha, Centaury, Suede, Oud, Musk*, Ambergris, Styrax, Vanilla, Incense.
*of synthetic origin.
Carrot seed + Angelica Root + Cardamom seed = Effervescent Kombucha
One thing that strikes you if you spend enough time analysing orris is the effervescent quality it possesses, not only as a singular material but how it can impart this sparkling freshness within a composition. Adding orris to citrus forward compositions will help to add a natural fizzy freshness should you wish. I wanted to convey this effervescent quality in the opening of Trimerous.
To achieve the required botanical fizziness I supplemented our very fine orris butter with a small amount of carrot seed and cardamom seed. Both are materials I find have a slightly fermented kombucha-like quality that translates this sparkling sensation really well (desirable off-notes and all). Angelica root provides a lovely alliaceous segue, adding tonic-like dynamics and helping to bridge the space between our choice botanical seeds and the focal point orris.
Orris Butter + Frankincense + Alpha Irone = chilly orris
Any decent orris perfume requires a noticeable amount of the namesake material, however the high cost associated with using natural orris and the relative ease in recreating a similar profile using low cost materials such as ionones often leads to perfumers omitting orris butter, resinoid or absolute from their compositions. However, nothing truly replaces orris-derived aromatics in luxury perfume, and in most cases I prefer working with the real material over a reconstitution.
A large percentage of orris butter is myristic acid and this inherent waxy and fatty quality was a focus for me when creating Trimerous. The waxier and fattier facets are often discarded by perfumers in favour of more floral/ violet materials such as ionones, or more instantly pleasant woody or chocolatey aromas in order to make an instantly likeable and indulgent profile that still registers as ‘orris’. With that being said, I find these waxy, fatty and oily facets to be the real secret behind the beauty of the orris.
We use two commercial orris butter products in our laboratory. An orris butter with 15% irone content and another with 20% irone content. We occasionally use an orris resinoid for specific applications however the profile of the resinoid is quite different from the butter. Some orris products are so wildly expensive (orris absolute, orris butter 80% irone) they are near impossible to use and as such, they are put on the top shelf and only used for very special and low production projects.
As an orris-centric perfume, Trimerous uses a healthy dose of fine orris butter with 15% irone content. We then supercharge this with a boost of alpha irone to extend the velvety orris character and improve overall performance. This results in the orris note being perceived as soon as Trimerous is sprayed and throughout the entire wearing. To elevate this further, a sensible amount of frankincense oil is used to reinforce the oily character and to bring an ethereal, chilly incense note that we find with orris.
Styrax + Labdanum oil = vegetal leather
The intention with Trimerous was to create an orris profile that is very true to the experience of smelling the prized material. The unique fragrance demanded being weightless but with excellent performance. To achieve a balanced anchoring that isn’t too heavy, choice materials were selected that represent the sensation of orris as it evaporates.
There is a noticeable suede leather quality as orris develops that I wanted to capture. This vegetal leather facet had to appear weightless. To achieve this, a combination of styrax and labdanum oil were used to provide the right balance of depth and longevity without heavily colouring the entire profile. Styrax is a wonderful material that can be used in many styles of perfume with different outcomes being achieved. Styrax is used in Trimerous to provide natural and shallow sweetness and an alluring gumminess adding just the right amount of starchy, vegetal fixation to the formula.
To provide a little more leatheriness, a speciality labdanum extract is used. This provides a distinctive leathery quality without adding too much weight. The result is a realistic vegetal leather note that helps to support the entire structure whilst providing a supple sueded drydown – making for a beautifully wearable everyday scent that feels unarguably special.